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The Only One

Chapter 17

She had been wondering about him off and on for the past month, and he had been thinking about her, too, and just as she decided to reach for her phone, its ringtone sounded and she was quick to answer.

“Well, hello!” Carole greeted, hearing the familiar voice. “Would you believe I was just thinking about you when I heard your name mentioned on the news earlier in connection with the capture of the garbage dumpster killer? What a feather in your cap!”

“Yeah,” Philip Atkins said. “Finally caught up with that goddamned maniac! Would you believe it was my partner, Brooks – hold on a minute, let me see who this is on my call-waiting.”

Anxious for him to click back over, Carole was brimming with questions to ask Philip, especially about the last name of the woman involved in the capture of the serial killer.

“…Yeah, - so like I was saying,” Philip resumed, switching back to their conversation, “it was my partner Brooks who was instrumental in cracking this case. It all happened so fast, but once we got a lead, everything broke wide open!”

Who was the guy?” Carole asked, “And why in the world was he killing all these poor women!”

“I can’t talk long,” Philip rushed, “but his name is Purvis Skinner, and what our investigation uncovered was that all of his victims were young females who were deep in debt. Each one had been rejected for a loan by this company where Skinner worked as a janitor who, before shredding the contents of waste baskets, would fish out rejected applications and get information about those who’d been turned down. Then, he’d pick out the ones who looked like good candidates for his purposes, and contact them under false pretenses.”

“Good grief!”

“Yep, and since he knew these unsuspecting women were desperate for money, he’d offered them a way to make a quick buck. He claimed to have a 900 sex-hotline number and that all they’d have to do was talk dirty on the phone for a few hours every night, and they could earn as much as $500 a week!”


“That was probably the reason the victims kept their acquaintance with him a secret. They didn’t want family and friends to know about the sleazy part-time activity they were considering getting involved in.”

“But why did he murder them?

“Well, he would invite a prospect over to his apartment under the pretense of demonstrating how the operation worked. Then he would try to take liberties . And since he wasn’t exactly the type of guy a young woman would be romantically attracted to, when she rejected him, he’d do her in.”

“How terrible! So what led to his downfall?”

“He finally met his match in a very slick chick,” Philip said. “She was turned down for a loan, and when he whipped his con-game on her, this Coreen Briggs took him up on his offer just like the others had.”

“That’s who I want to hear about!" Carole exclaimed. “Tell me more about her! I’m wondering if she’s related to someone I know!”

“What we have to go on is that, once dude and Coreen ended up in his lair, things followed the usual course and he came onto her. But, according to Coreen, from certain things he said, she began to half-way suspect who this joker might be, so she turned the tables on him. To save her life, she claimed she had no choice but to seduce him, and get him drunk, and after he fell asleep she cracked him over the head with a hand weight, and got the hell out of his place. As soon as she escaped, she called my partner Brooks who she knew, because he’d had a thing for her - before they had a falling out. Anyway, as soon as this Coreen-babe made sure she was eligible for the big reward, and that she would get a chance to appear on TV, she gave Brooks all the information, and told him where to go. Once Brooks and me arrived at the apartment with a search warrant crew, we knew we were on to something because we found a bag of women’s under garments and after we got Skinner down to the station and interrogated him for 4 hours, he confessed everything. Said he was glad it was over, because killing women wasn’t worth the trouble any more, - that jackin’ off by himself was more fun. The only thing that really seemed to bother this nut was my partner’s threat to confiscate his valuable jazz collection. The fool was really psycho.”

“Fascinating,” Carole said.

“Yeah, Philip,” agreed. “And I’m due at a press conference so I really gotta run! The reason I was calling you can wait!”

“OK,” Carole said, her curiosity aroused. “Get back to me as soon as you can!”

Propped up against the headboard, draped in nothing but a bedsheet, a totally amazed Troy Briggs couldn’t believe what he was watching on TV. But there was Coreen! Big as life, - his ex-wife appearing on the 6 o’clock news, fielding reporters’ questions, coyly playing to the cameras, unsuccessfully making an attempt at sounding intelligent. Unbelievable, was the only word that came to mind as he lie there, cracking up. A serial killer! Her dating life must’ve gone downhill after their divorce he decided, thinking that if anybody in the world could bring a cold-blooded murderer to his knees, it was Coreen!

“What’s so funny?” Debbie Marlowe asked her newly-acquired roommate as she emerged naked from the bathroom, bouncing across the room. “You can’t wait to get your jollies, huh? I’ll give you something to laugh about!” she teased, pulling back the covers and climbing on top of him.

“Bust my sides and tickle my fancy,” he chuckled, gripping her hips, glad the joke was on him as she settled into the saddle of his loins and was off to the races.

Later, waking up in the middle of the night, Troy Briggs lie there next to a sleeping Debbie, his mood reflective.

Well, he thought, this was what he wanted. But now that the newness had worn off, routine has set in. Sharing a bed with someone who snored, hogged the covers, and gave good head, wasn’t that different from sleeping with Coreen, who was undoubtedly making big plans for the cash windfall she’d lucked up on thanks to her encounter with a serial killer. Coreen, who always managed to land on her feet. Now that he could view her from afar, he had to admit that’s she’d always been a resourceful woman. A survivor. Something he’d never given her enough credit for. Too bad he hadn’t shown more appreciation for his wife of 5 years, and the mother of his child. He thought about one of the few times he had actually felt close to her, the night when they’d cried in each other arms after their daughter had drawn her last breath. Yeah, he had to admit that he hadn’t been a very considerate husband.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of things he needed to admit about himself. There was Ashley Drake. She, too, was a resourceful woman, which was why he had fallen for her, had sponged off of her and had hoped to use her to get ahead in the upscale world where she was a player.

And Carole Everly, he thought, before catching himself. Oops. Why had he brought her into this mix???

Suddenly alerted by a stirring at the foot of the bed, and a low snarl, Troy sensed that Marty had his eyes on him. Marty. The ever-present Marty, - like some kind of a motherfuckin sentry. Even lurking around when he and Debbie were screwing.

Waiting for Marty to settle down, Troy turned over on his side, ready to fall back asleep as his thoughts began to drift. Maybe the bad karma between him and his four-legged nemesis dated back to another life…when he had been a runaway slave…and Marty a blood hound hunting him down…so he could be strung up…for sleeping with a white woman…nah…delete that…being the paramour of…a temptress like,… say, Cleopatra…was more his preference…zzzzzzzzz…

  • to be continued as the explanations for puzzling questions are revealed in the final chapters. -

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